thewhitebike

The Sunday Post: The White Bike

The bike that reminded me that I like riding bikes back in 2014 and has close to 1,000 miles on it has been slowly getting repaired/upgraded.

The White Bike

It started back in 2014 with a Sunday Funday on bikes. I was on a borrowed bike for the day (since I didn’t have one) and it reminded me how much I liked riding bikes. The next week, I punched up Amazon and ordered this machine, a Critical Cycles Single Speed/Fixed Gear bike.

I started riding around the ‘hood, 2 miles. 5 miles. 7 miles. I keep that going until I started getting brave and pushed it to 10. I remember my first 10 mile ride. Thought I was going to die. I actually had to stop and rest for about 15 minutes when I was less than 1 mile from home. I couldn’t even walk well enough to push it home.

Then I did my first big ride, 20 miles in the shape of a 10 mile to brunch and a 10 mile ride back after. After that I was hooked. Miles started racking up. I even got brave enough to ride it on the street fixed (if the back wheel is moving, the pedals are moving, like a unicycle), managing a 15 mile ride that way once.

So, this is the bike that started it all.

But it is an inexpensive bike, made with cheap parts. It’s a bike made for college kids or hipsters to ride to class or around town. Not so much for clocking big miles. And big miles means parts wear out, and this bike has needed some repairs. Bottom bracket and crank. Tires. A new chain (installed tonight). I also swapped out the handle bars and replaced the seat. Back in fighting shape again.

Now I’m back to riding it.

Sometimes I just want to get out for 20-30 minutes and ride around the ‘hood. With it still getting dark to early and me not liking to ride on the streets with the after-work drivers, getting on the black bike for 15-30 miles just doesn’t work. So I’ll just pull this guy out and go ride bikes.

A few weekends ago, I even used it to do some bar hoping downtown, followed by a very nice bicycle tour. Up until it broke (which is why I replaced the chain). I’ll be using this bike again next weekend for an event ride, because that is what it is good for.

I was thinking about getting rid of it. Selling it and replacing it with a bike that I could use to ride around town for short errands, things like that. Now that I have done all of the repairs, and installed a fresh set of stickers, I’m remembering how good of a riding bike this really is, and why it got me back to riding bikes in the first place. And for that, it stays.

hamsoup

Another Pot of Soup

Man, I love leftovers during the holday season. Especially if the weather is cold, as it has been here in Arizona. Today, we are dealing with leftover ham and making a hearty soup. Like everything else, super easy, super delicious and it makes quite bit.

Christmas Ham Soup

For this you will need the left over bits of ham, you know, the tough parts from the end that nobody likes on sandwhiches because they are too tough. They work perfect for this recipe, especially if they are both tough and have a bit of extra fat.

Ingredients

  • Ham, the fattiest pieces, diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow or brown onion, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 12oz bottle of brown beer
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Water to cover
  • 1 tbls red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Cooking

In your dutch oven or sturdiest soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat until it’s hot. Add the ham pieces and saute for 2 minutes. Drop the heat to medium and continue to cook until most of the fat is rendered and the ham is nicely browned. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, celery and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the beer. scrape the bottom of the pan to get the brown ham bits and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cover with water. Add the spices and garlic and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook with the lid on for 45 minutes. Finish with parsley and vinegar.

Mods

  • Add 1 can of black beans
  • Add a corn starch slurry and let it cook for an additional 10 minutes to thicken
  • Use white wine instead of beer and skip the vinegar. I would use a pinot gringo or something equally light, not a chardonnay.
  • Use the entire beer!

If this turns out correctly, you should have an amazing ham flavor with a hint of cinnamon. I thought it turned out really nice, hearty enough to be a meal but not so heavy to be a stew.

IMG_4579

Because I’m a Nerd

It’s been 10 years* since I’ve had a Windows powered computer. While it took me a solid 2 weeks of kicking, screaming and clawing my way into OSX, it is a journey I am glad I completed and have been cruising along happily ever since.

But, I’m a nerd. Just because I don’t have Windows on a dedicated PC doesn’t mean I still don’t want it. I mean, professionally, I need it to keep up with the rest of world. Also, I have yet to have held down a job where I was able to use a Mac, full time. They have all been Windows shops. So, ideally, I should have a windows PC.

I’m also poor. This means that owning a Windows PC should be a snap, right? Cruise down to Walmart and pick up whatever rattletrap, malware infested computer they have for less than $400. Done and done. Except I can’t justify wasting $400 in such a hideous manner.

So, a few weeks ago, Woot had a Shuttle Barebones PC on sales. Instead of Barebones, however, it was a complete I3. Low on RAM (which I took care of), still came with 2x160GB drives, a DVD drive and Windows 7. And it’s refurbished. Totally ok by me, I’ve bought reverb gear before.

Open the box and pull everything out. First thing I notice is the case for this computer appears to have been used for a jack stand at some point in it’s former life. Not that big of a deal for me, except the chassis is so out of whack the CPU fan buzzes like a herd of bees stuck inside of a backhoe bucket. It’s quite an unpleasant noise.

Get everything connected and the new RAM installed and fire it up. Windows boots as expected until I’m prompted to provide a Windows Key. Sure, not a problem, should be right here on the side of the case. Or in the box. Or in this other box that they keyboard came in. Ok, maybe the RMA form might have it on a sticker.

Nope.

Fantastic.

How about Windows 10? Let’s give that a shot. Seems to complete without issue until I go to login. It’s connected with a WiFi adapter that works perfectly well under Windows 7 before I started the install. No dice with Windows 10. I had to pull my 50′ ethernet cable out of storage to connect it to my network. As soon as I did that, I was able to login. Sure would have been nice to have an error message or something.

The only reason I bought this was to offload some of the load from my Mac MINI. I figured I could make that my Media/Backup server easy enough and let it run in my entertainment center. Oh, and it was cheap. Less than $180 (shipped) cheap. Plus, having access to Windows again for reference and other things would be nice.

I suppose that’s what I get. I’m going to see if any of the boys at work will buy it from me. Or, maybe I’ll put linux on it? ¬†Otherwise it’s going on eBay/Craigslist and I’ll go back to saving my pennies for another Mac Mini instead.

*10 years sounds really dramatic. It’s actually been about 8 1/2. But, drama wins here.

End of Year Experiment

Dear Internet,

It has been far too long since I have posted to these pages. That’s on me, it really it. I was cheating on you with another blog that I have since shut down, but that is not a story for another day.

What is a story for another day is what I’m doing on the internet for rest of the year, mostly.

The hot trend, at least within my internet, is taking sabbatical from Facebook. Of late, it has been a major distraction and a source of anxiety for me, so I have decided to do the same, as much as I possibly can.

I can’t remove myself completely from Facebook the way civilians can. Even attempting to do the quit for 30 days option causes almost 10 very high profile pages to not work, which is a problem for the sites those pages are attached to, obviously. Especially the page for White Roof Radio which requires daily management.

So I can’t fully quit.

I can, however, remove the app from my phone. I have also logged out at work. I have also changed the privacy on my page to make almost everything that has been recently posted not appear to anyone. And I won’t be engaging with any posts unless I am strongly moved to do so.

I’m not breaking up with the internet however. I am still posting to Instagram and sharing those photos, when good enough, to Flickr. They also go to Twitter via the nerd machine. I am also continuing to post to Twitter.

It’s only Facebook.

I’m curious to see if anyone notices. It’s been 3 days so far, I don’t think anyone has. To be honest, I don’t think anyone will. That’s not true, the ones that might are the ones that follow on Twitter or Instagram (or both). At least they will only be seeing my stuff once or twice.

I’ll be sure to report back.

soup

Recipe: 1 Pot Chicken Soup

‘Tis the season. And, when I say season, I mean the temperatures in Arizona are under 90 during the day and in the 50s and 60s at night. That can only mean 1 thing.

It’s Soup Season!

The first entry this year is this simple 1 pot chicken soup. It’s a bit time consuming, but I’m really enjoying it. Let’s get it started.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken leg and thigh pieces
  • 2 cups of white wine
  • 1 can of chicken stock
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 package of cooked lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, 1/2 diced, 1/2 cut into large chunks
  • Garlic, as much as you like
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ wide strips
  • 1TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP red wine or cider vinegar or family vinegar (what I used)
  • Water, salt and pepper

First things first, I mentioned one pot. That needs to be something that can go into the oven. I used my dutch over, but anything that can handle 200 degrees for 3 hours works.

Start by heating your pot with olive oil in the bottom. Add the chicken, large chunks of onion and red bell pepper and let cook on medium high heat 4 minutes per side. That will get some great color and release some of the fat from the chicken. Remove from heat and add your wine, chicken stock, water to just cover, 2 good pinches of salt and about 10 grinds from the pepper mill. Lid it up and put into a 200 degree oven for 3 hours.

Time up, remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to cool. Also remove the bell pepper pieces. Dice these and add them back to the pot on medium heat with all of your veggies and lentils. Let this cook for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

When the chicken is cool, remove all of the skin and bones and shred. Add this back to the pot and finish with your tablespoon of vinegar.

I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to having it for the whole week. Go crazy with this by adding whatever veggies or additional spices you like!